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Polar Service Center explosion rips roof, sends debris raining down on Commerce City neighborhood

Welder ignited fumes in tanker
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Posted at 9:27 PM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 23:27:45-04

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Investigators say a mid-morning explosion at the Polar Service Center shop in Commerce City was caused by a welder, who ignited residual fumes in a tanker he was repairing.

The loud blast tore a hole in the roof of the repair shop at 74th Avenue and Dahlia Street, and sent debris raining down into the neighborhood to the west.

“My grandchild and I felt a big explosion,” said Kevin Cowan. “Boom! So, we grabbed our joggers to come out and see what happened. It actually rocked my house a little bit.”

Neighbor Roger Vigil told Denver7 he thought it was just a tire blowing out on one of the trucks, “until I started hearing stuff come crashing down…like raining rocks.”

Vigil was tending to his garden in the front yard when he heard the explosion. He ran up the street and around the corner and saw a puff of smoke coming out of the repair shop.

He then went back home, checked his backyard and noticed some tree limbs down, a power line sagging and a hole punched into a playground slide.

“Scared the heck out of me,” he said. “I’ve got grandchildren that play back here all the time and that would have been a scary thing for them to be back here and having to deal with anything like that.”

“There were no injuries,” said South Adams County Fire Marshal Randall Weigum. “We do have damage to the roof structure and, also to some of the side structure garage doors.”

When asked if fire crews had been called out to Polar Service Center before, Weigum said he didn’t know.

A neighbor told Denver7 there was a similar incident in the 1990s.